The Bar at the HandleBar Cafe on Caroline Between Fleet & Eastern

20170629_145154 The heat’s turned back on in Baltimore, which made me all the happier to end my bike ride in Canton for another session in the cryotherapy chamber. The ride down was easy breezy now that I knew where I was going and didn’t have to check my phone for directions. I headed down Guilford, veered left for the protected cycletrack along Fallsway, walked my bike as instructed to the sidewalk just past Fayette before pedaling south and east and south and east until making a couple of wrong turns and ending up at my new favorite summer spot for freezing myself. I was all flush with that feeling of gratitude that I can ride a bicycle–it really is the very best.

I waltzed into the place like a serious athlete looking for recovery, and this time I even took off my bra. I was advised to go ahead and leave it on the first time, but with a rack like mine, I was losing serious freezing space. I jumped in the chamber, started shivering, and listened to the sales pitch. $199/month for unlimited freezing. This was significantly lower than the quoted $349 price on the website, and I was just cold enough to seriously consider this investment in finding out what it feels like to freeze yourself every day for a year.

Fortunately I thawed out quickly, remembered that I don’t have an extra $199/month, and headed back out to my bike for a deep thaw and a ride over to check out the HandleBar Cafe with my work wife on a work date. This place serves burritos, pizza, beer, and fixes your bike. I don’t know why it took me so long to throw my out-to-lunch bones their way, but I finally made it.

And it was wonderful. The ac was on full blast, the burrito bowl was soaked in enchilada sauce, and everybody in there was, I assumed, into bikes. I spend so much of my day fighting cars and potholes and all the other hazards that remind me I don’t really belong that it was nice to just lock my bike to an actual bike rack and soak in the bicycles with my afternoon coffee.

We finished up and headed out. I walked my bike since she was on foot, and we snaked our way back to Mount Vernon via streets with the most shade, which meant we were both off our usual routes and marveling at all the new views. Is that going to be a hotel, or condos? Why didn’t we know about the police history museum? Why are there so many planters around the police department building but not any plants?

We crossed through the grass at City Hall and saw Liz, intrepid leader of Bikemore, our local bicycle advocacy group, sitting outside. She was waiting for the lawyer so they could head in and continue discussions about the design of the protected bike lane over on Potomac Street in Canton, where I’d just been. I thanked her profusely for her work, teared up a bit telling her again what the Maryland Avenue cycletrack has done for my everyday, and was overwhelmed with gratitude for those fighting to make our streets safer in the face of the drumbeat of demands for more parking. I want this city to have the political will to stand up to the common sense of cars and build transit and bicycle infrastructures that will make us all safer, even if it means slowing some of us down a teensy tiny bit.

We walked the rest of the way, I dropped N. at her bar, sucked down too much water, and then hit the cycletrack for the rest of my ride home. Summertime is the very best.

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